Since I began my PhD training at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2005, I have been interested in T cell immune modulation in cancer and autoimmunity. One of my major studies as a PhD candidate was the regulation of tumor immune responses via the co-signaling molecule PD-L1. In this study, I found that the co-inhibitory molecule PD-L1 can modulate tumor immune responses in two opposite directions, receptor PD-1/CD80-dependent inhibitory regulation and PD-1/CD80-independent stimulatory modulation. In 2011, I joined Dr Lieping Chen’s lab at Yale as a postdoc associate. I have worked to characterize new therapeutic targets for immunotherapy to treat cancer, inflammation, and autoimmune disease. Programmed death 1 homolog (PD-1H, also called VISTA) is a promising target I have been focusing on recently. We have determined that PD-1H functions as a coinhibitory receptor for T cells. Triggering PD-1H signaling via an agonist mAb inhibits CD4+ T cell activation in mouse GVHD and acute hepatitis models. Conversely, blocking this pathway boosts T cell immune responses in mouse tumor models including glioma and leukemia. To further investigate this pathway, I am exploring PD-1H’s role in autoimmunity, and characterizing new therapeutics to treat autoimmune disease like lupus by manipulating the PD-1H signaling pathway. In 2016 I was promoted to ARS and I have been a team leader, actively collaborating with a pharmaceutical company to translate my studies into the clinic.
Education & Training
- Postdoc AssociateYale School of Medicine (2016)
- PhDInstitute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2011)
- BSShandong University (2004)